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Man Pulls 12-Year-Old's Head From Cougar's Jaws

Mark Patterson kicked, choked and wrestled a cougar to rescue a 12-year-old boy from the jaws of the big cat at a resort camp in south-central British Columbia.

Patterson's quick action was credited with saving Colton Reeb who was on a camping trip near Clinton, northwest of Kamloops, when he was attacked by the mountain lion on Wednesday.

The cougar pounced on Reeb while he was walking to a bathroom close to the Kelly Lake Vacation Lodge. Patterson, who owns the lodge, jumped in to rescue the 12-year-old boy, a family friend.

"The cat had Colton's head in its mouth ... blood was squirting out everywhere," Patterson said.

Patterson said five soccer kicks to the cat's head were not enough to wrench the boy's head from the animal's mouth. So he put a chokehold on the cougar "and squeezed as hard as I could, and he finally let go."

Patterson then wrestled with the 70-pound male cougar, which broke free, fixing him with an evil glare and growl, he said.

"I growled back at him and said, 'I'm ready to go."'

The cougar finally slinked away as Patterson's wife stood nearby armed with a meat cleaver. Later Wednesday, park conservation officers shot and killed the cougar near the community of Clinton.

"I was scared, but I don't remember ... I love this little boy and I didn't want him to die," said Patterson, who drove the bleeding victim in his pickup truck to the police station in Clinton.

The Kamloops boy was then taken to the nearby town of Ashcroft and flown by helicopter to B.C. Children's Hospital with non-life-threatening bite and claw wounds to his face, neck, head and upper chest. He was listed in good condition Thursday at the hospital with stable and normal vital signs.

Conservation officer Rod Olsen said the cougar may have mistaken the boy for a deer or mountain sheep because the attack occurred in an area where such prey is common.

Olsen said Patterson acted heroically and smartly in taking on the young male cat.

"He's truly selfless and his actions saved the kid," he said.